Circulation of the Positive
1983, mask and robe by Jenny Badger Sultan
The “Mask for the Circulation of the Positive” came directly from a dream.NEGATIVE & POSITIVE MASKS--Dreamed November 14, 1981
This dream is about Dorothy Niemann. There is a gigantic celebration for her. She is pregnant.
We are at an outdoor place--a big lawn (Caltech?). There are many, many men and women here. Someone tells me that all the important feminists are here. I say, “Gloria Steinem?” Well, maybe not her, but many others. There are tables laid out on a big lawn. The food on the tables is exquisite and beautifully arranged. I make a plate for myself and the others do too.
Later we go down to another area where there is a kind of a pageant in celebration of Dorothy. There is a good feeling of all her friends having organized all this for her.
I have brought a mask that is scary and negative (I was not a part of the planning, I am acting on my own). I put it on and go around in the crowd, facing people. I seek out Dorothy--it’s hard to find her. This is spontaneous, not planned. I tell Naomi, or someone else in my family, to put on another mask that I have brought. It is a woman’s face, with 2 child kachinas on either side. It is a positive mask. She is uncertain, won’t do it. I put it on, at a time when other people with masks on are dancing to bring in the positive.
The I notice a small figure has come in--red, red, mudhead-like, bright red. Light shines on this. This is like the new hope.
Afterwards a man (perhaps Dorothy’s husband ) says he’s glad Hank is here. They are both English and there’s a sense of camraderie.
The mask was formed from canvas on a chicken-wire base. I made it and the canvas robe for a ritual celebration that was the culmination of a class called “The Universal Mask” that I taught at U.C. Santa Cruz in 1983.